For a wintry Monday.

"Approach this day with awareness of who is boss. As you make plans for the day, remember that it is I who orchestrate the events of your life. On days when things go smoothly, according to your plans, you may be unaware of My sovereign presence. On days when your plans are thwarted, be on the lookout for Me! I may be doing something important in your life, something quite different from what you expected. It is essential at such times to stay in communication with me, accepting my way as better than yours. Don't try to figure out what is happening. Simply trust me and thank me in advance for the good that will come out of it all. I know the plans I have for you, and they are good." Jesus Calling

Jeremiah 29:11
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord, 'Plans to give you hope and a future.'"


My Hope for 2014.

Dear friends,

Thank you all so much for the love and encouragement you poured out on to me in response to Granny's post. In all honesty, I fretted over that post for quite some time. With the help of my husband, I found the courage to click "publish". Then, still fretting, I prayed through my scared that my words would encourage or lift the spirits of another, even it was another that I may not even know.

That post, in a way, gave me the push I needed for my blogging in this new year. I don't really like making resolutions, so instead, I came up with my "hope" for this little blog space in 2014. Besides, aren't you supposed to have your resolutions ready on January 1? I am a little late to the party, if so. ;)

My main hope for here is to be more intentional with my writing.

At this point, I'm not exactly sure what that will look like. Ha. However, I do know that it includes becoming more transparent with my readers and not being so afraid to publish the posts that I have actually written. In the past, I have tended to hold back by fear that I am exposing too much, boring my readers, and not making a true difference in the words I am putting out there. Oh, all the posts that sat in draft mode to only be sent to recycle bin heaven within the months following! Cringe.

Does this mean I have to write a novel every day? Of course not. Ain't nobody got time fo dat! Does it mean I will be putting down every little detail and emotion? No thanks! :) However, I do want to write more about what's going on in our little dot on the map, and maybe such will encourage you..or at least entertain. ;)

I love y'all and am looking forward to a great year!

She Called Me Hers.

{Originally posted January 12th, 2014}

Hi friends.

Last weekend, we got the news that my Granny had passed away. I cried because I will miss so many things about her. Yet, I smiled because I know she is healed, happy, and worshiping with everyone in Heaven.

Oh, how my Granny loved Jesus while she was here. I am so thankful for that. She showed me so much about our savior in the time that I knew her. She showed me in her own unique way, in good and in hard, what it meant to trust in God. She also loved me like Jesus and gave me such encouragement. I wish I would have thanked her more for that.

My favorite memory of Granny came to fruition not too long ago. It was the day of my wedding. Yes, I know that wedding days are full of happy, picturesque memories that are meant to be shared. This memory was happy, and it did make for some great photographs (that we shared), which made it so great. To me though, it would still be great even if not captured on film or seen by others, and I will always cherish it.

You see, not many people knew this, but Granny was "technically" my "step-grandmother". Golly, how I really don't like the word "step".

Tangent: I also don't like the phrase, "broken home". I just don't think it can make anyone that may be a "product" of such feel very good. Every home is broken because all of us are broken. It's all of us broken people that make up homes. So can we all just get over it and admit we're all broken and that even our "together home" is only together because it's been pieced by a loving and gracious God? I'll start the petition. The broken ring leader! ;)

Anyways, back to Granny. The main way Granny loved me like Jesus is that she never called me step. She always called me hers. I'm sure she would use the "s-word" in an explanatory way to others (it is in fact impossible to give birth to a 5-year-old), but she never once used it to me. She never once made a reference to the "broken home" from which I came. She never gave me the sense that she wondered why some little girl came in to her life after she had already been blessed with plenty of grandbabies. To me, it's just like I was always there, I was hers, and she loved me. And for me, she was always, and will continue to be, my Granny.

I never realized until the last year or so, but Granny was just loving me like Jesus. All those birthday cards, the conversations in her kitchen, and her always introducing me to her church ladies were just glimpses of her loving me with no conditions or strings attached. And to be honest, I never fully understood that until my wedding day.

Granny, one of Belk department stores best customers, had picked out a beautiful pink dress for our wedding about a month after Andrew and I got engaged. She had always looked wonderful in pink, and I knew the day she showed it to me she would look wonderful on our wedding day. My, was she proud of that dress! However, Granny's health had taken a turn and she was unable to attend the wedding. We (my mom, aunt, bridesmaids, and myself) decided to bring the wedding to her, with a BIG surprise.

I was nervous about this for a number of reasons. One, I don't like surprises! What if she didn't either? What if she was upset she wasn't all dolled up? What if she turned the corner and wasn't excited? What in the world was about to happen? ;) Well here you have it:

I cannot look at these pictures and not smile. I cannot look at these pictures without the reminder that I NOW fully understand THIS, even in this time of sad: Granny loved me in my brokenness. Jesus loves me in my brokenness. Granny was delighted in me. Jesus delights in me. Granny...loved me! Jesus loves me.

How can I learn from this, and love others right where they are? With no assumptions or labels? Oh, I pray for a heart like that!

"Her children(grandchildren) rise up and call her blessed
her husband also, and he praises her
'Many women do noble things, 
but you surpass them all.'" 
Proverbs 31:28-29
(this part added by me ;))

Thrifty Thursday: Chalkboard Art.

I am a huge fan of our local thrift store. 

In our house, if an item isn't a hand-me-down from family members or a wedding gift, it came from the thrift store. We're just living the newlywed dream. Seriously, I need Dave Ramsey to start reading my posts...

Anyways, for weeks I had been in search of the perfect piece to make a copycat chalkboard I had seen at TJ Maxx. I adored the one I saw there, and knew it would be perfect in our dining room, but I wasn't willing to pay $50 (see that self control, Dave?). Plus, I knew I could make my own using a thrift store find.

I think those trendy, city kids would call this "upcycling"?

Finally, on a random trip to the thrift store, I found a huge mirror for $8. It looked like a mirror that had once been attached to a dresser.

 It was a lovely fake oak finish (we gonna party like it's 19...89) and the mirror was dingy.

  I fell in love.

I paid my favorite cashier and headed home with my haul. I covered the mirror with newspaper and spray painted the "wood" silver. I then painted the mirror with chalkboard paint. Then, I wrote on it with a fun verse I came across.

I plan on changing the verses more often in the new year. It was such a fun project for $8!

If you didn't already have spray and chalkboard paint, it would still only be around $15 total (buying the smallest bottles).

I love recycling. I love upcycling. I love only paying $8 for a functional conversation piece.

Happy thrifting!!